Greg Reitan: Antibes
Release Date: 12-Jan-2010 I have been paying attention to Greg Reitan for several years now, finding him to be a pianist and composer who is already quite impressive and who seems to have a great deal of rapidly developing potential."
- Orrin Keepnews, from the CD liner notes
This quote is not a standard line from a music flack: Its from a man who, for fifty years, has produced some of the most important jazz recordings in history mostly with the Riverside label with pianists Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, and Thelonious Monk. So, with Antibes, pianist/composer Greg Reitans impressive follow-up to his critically-acclaimed 2008 Sunnyside debut, Some Other Time, Reitan continues his invigorating ascension toward artistic perfection, heralded by a true muse to the gods of modern jazz piano.
Joined again by his long-time cohorts, bassist Jack Daro and drummer Dean Koba, Reitans vivid and virtuosic command of the keyboard, which, according to John Regen of Keyboard Magazine displayed a lyrical sense of articulation and a penchant for leaving space across his phrases imbues Antibes with a perfect combination of syncopated soul and science, partially inspired by that picturesque town in southern France.
We had just finished recording the first album Reitan says. I was reading a wonderful 1957 book, The Riviera: from Portofino to Marseilles, which is full of beautiful black and white photography by the Italian modernist, Bruno Stefani. I was immediately inspired to write a new composition that I inevitably named Antibes, seeking to echo the elegance and beauty of the photography. At the time I was listening to a lot of Glenn Gould, particularly his interpretations of Bach, and I feel that some of Goulds music also influenced the piece. We recorded Antibes first, and then I planned the rest of the album around the mood and spirit of that opening composition, with the other tunes recorded in the sequence in which they appear on the album. They were all recorded in a few afternoons that were spaced out over three months."
The rest of the CDs eleven tracks are a well-conceived mix of Reitan originals and well-known, albeit Reitanized, standards. The trios treatments of the Wayne Shorter composed, Miles Davis mid-sixties classic Fall, Bill Evans Re: Person I Knew (an anagram dedicated to Keepnews, originally recorded in 1962), Keith Jarretts Sympathy, Denny Zeitlins Time Remembers One Time Once, and the Mann & Hilliard/Myer & Bretton standards In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning and For Heavens Sake, display the triads telepathic, syncopated seances transmuted through exquisite ballad, intricate neo-bop, and elegant waltz stylings. The leaders selections, Waltz for Meredith, (penned for his wife) One Step Ahead, September, Late Summer Variations and Salinas highlight Reitans ever-evolving compositional genius for creating compelling and complex soundscapes that span the jazz continuum.
Gregory Rhodes Reitans work on Antibes is the product of his complete and comprehensive musical education. Born on May 30, 1973 in Seattle, WA, Reitans interest in music began at the age of ten. I was fortunate to study with a number of great musicians, he says, [including] pianists Joni Metcalf, Dave Peck and composer/drummer Jerry Granelli. Summers were spent at the Bud Shank Jazz Workshop at Port Townsend, WA, where I studied piano with Hal Galper and arranging with John Clayton. He won two scholarships to the Berklee School of Music, and the Kreielsheimer Scholarship at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.
He relocated to Los Angeles in 1991, attended the University of Southern Californias Thornton School of Music as a Herb Alpert Merit and Deans Scholar, studying composition with Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli and Erica Muhl; piano with Milcho Leviev and Terry Trotter, and film composition with David Raksin and Christopher Young. In 1991, Reitan was a finalist in the John Coltrane Competition and was awarded the Harry Warren Prize for Film Scoring in 1995. He was also a finalist in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition and the 1996 Hennessy Cognac Jazz Search in New York.
Reitan has also been a film composer/producer since 1995. Hes worked with Score Productions in New York, and composed music for ABC, CBS, and CNN. After leaving Score Productions, he composed the original score for the independent film, Dumbarton Bridge, for which he won the Grand Prize for Best Score at the 1999 Providence R.I. Film Festival. In 2001, he formed Evergreen Point Music, an L.A.-based production company, whose clientele includes NBC News, XM Satellite Radio, Warner Bros, and various film projects.
His jazz trio performs frequently on both coasts, and has had a long-standing relationship with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2000, two of his compositions were featured in the motion picture, Bark, starring Lisa Kudrow, which was an official selection of the Sundance Festival. In 2002, he won the inaugural ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award for his composition, Man Overboard, and became an official Steinway Artist that same year. The USC Symphony performed two of his works: Clarinet Concerto: In Three Movements and Los Angeles Fanfare.
It is clear that on Antibes, Mr. Reitan continues to pulse the jazz continuum with his Promethean pianistic and compositional prowess. Making an album that maintained its own elegance and gracefulness throughout was always at the center of my thoughts while developing this CD, Reitan says in the liner notes. It was all very carefully planned around the opening composition, and I think I have been able to create the complete statement I had in mind."